For the sixth year, artists in Glendale and surrounding cities opened their studio doors to the public for the annual Open Studio Tour on July 24. Nearly 200 artists participated in this year's event.
As part of their mission to support the arts, the Brand Library and Art Center is exhibiting one work of art from each participating artist. The Brand's main gallery is lined with an eclectic band of original works, representing artists from various backgrounds and skill levels, exercising media from watercolor to glass. Artists from 7 to 70 were welcomed and share paintings, jewelry, sculpture, photography and crafts.
Artist Ruben G. Yadao exhibits "Grasshopper" outside the main gallery and reveals his unique method for producing opaque watercolor paintings on silk. The artist wraps damp silk around a small stretcher bar system made of foam core board, which dries to become a tight ground for his paintings. He depicts his subject matter — insects, horses, fish and flowers — in primary and secondary palettes.
Yadao then produces a background painting, either a wash or landscape on paper, which slides behind the silk painting on a cleverly engineered foam core, tongue-in-groove system. The air gap between the opaque silk and paper wash paintings gives an interesting depth of field. Yadao's pieces have a contemporary Asian feel and are marked with both a signature and personal chop, a character symbol representing the artist's name. The result is quite beautiful, and the mechanical device is interesting!
Encased in the center of the main gallery are glass jewelry designs by Joanie Stevens. The artist crafts her pieces using brilliantly colored glass fused together by carefully timed kiln firing. Pendants, earrings and necklaces vary in size, and are as functional as they are beautiful. Sun-caught iridescence brings these miniature sculptures to life.
These pieces would steal attention and dominate a conversation. They are contemporary yet organic. Stevens has improved upon the nature of the elements she uses. She has devised new gems, and they are extraordinary. Bravo.
Alongside Stevens' work on the gallery floor is the work of another artist who blends media, Irwin Jazmines. His work titled "November After Glow at Forest Lawn" is a photo printed on glass. It is an image of the chapel at Forest Lawn in front of a vibrant sunset. A result of the natural lighting is a warm reddish tone. It is mounted vertically on an unobtrusive Plexiglas stand. Forest Lawn Chapel is known for its stained-glass windows. This contemporary version of "stained" glass is a fun irony.
Much applause is due to all those participating in the exhibition. The spectrum of talent is broad; artists with varied abilities, levels of experience and motives are represented. It is inspirational to see a community open its arms in support of the arts and artists by offering this opportunity to exhibit their work, learn from fellow artists and to share a mutual passion.
Terri Martin has a bachelor's degree in art history and a background in fine arts.
What: The Open Studio Tour Exhibition
When: Noon to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday until Aug. 13
Where: Brand Library Art Gallery, 1601 W. Mountain St., Glendale.
Contact: (818) 548-2051 or visit BrandLibrary.org.